A new report finds that students are much less likely than their professors to favor in-person instruction, but far more inclined to use (and pay for) generative AI.

A new report by the strategy consulting firm  Tyton Partners, in partnership with Turnitin, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Lumina Foundation and Macmillan Learning, found a stark disconnect between students’ and instructors’ preferences for how they learn. The results are based on a survey of about 1,600 students, 1,800 instructors and 300 administrators during the 2024 spring semester.

While more than half of professors selected in-person learning as their favorite modality for teaching, only 29 percent of students prefer learning face-to-face, the 2024 “Time for Class” report found. A similar share of students, 28 percent, said they favor hybrid learning, a mixture of face-to-face and online learning—which marks an increase of six percentage points since 2023. Meanwhile, the percentage of students who prefer asynchronous online learning has decreased.

Key findings:

  • 52% of administrators ranked “‘improving access and flexibility for students”’ as the primary goal of digital learning at their institution. However, only 25% of administrators and 36% of instructors report that digital learning has resulted in success for all students.  
  • Students are still limited in their access to basic digital tools and infrastructure: half of students report experiencing stress from unstable internet and lack of access to software and devices 
  • Students continue to lead instructors and administrators in using generative AI tools: 59% are regular (monthly or more) users compared to ~40% of instructors and administrators. However, students (45%) and instructors (28%) report increased academic workloads.  

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